Sunday, 1st July 2012

Walk: St. Michaelís Church, Weetís Top, Gordale Scar, Gordale Bridge, Street Gate, Malham Tarn, Malham Cove
Start Point: Kirkby Malham Grid Reference: SD 894 609
Distance: 16 miles Ascent: 2,100 feet
Time: 6.5 hours    
Weather: An overcast day with heavy drizzle in the morning. Dry in the afternoon but still cold for July.
Comments: Five members and one prospective member attended for this walk. Setting off in the rain to the sound of pealing bells from the medieval church we headed for Hanlith. Crossing Hanlith bridge we followed the Pennine Way along the River Aire for a time before heading for Calton where we joined a bridleway across Calton Moor to Weetís Top. Heading down from Weetís Top we entered Gordale gorge. Due to the amount of water in the beck we decided the leave the scramble up the Scar for another day and retraced our route to Gordale Bridge. Crossing the bridge we followed the route around the rim of the gorge and onwards to Street Gate. Leaving Street Gate we headed for Middle House Farm where we joined the Monkís Road to Malham Tarn. At the tarn we joined the Pennine Way which we followed to Malham Cove and then to Malham. From Malham a selection of field paths took us back to Kirby Malham passing Aire Head on the way.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Leaving St Michael's Church . . .

 

it isn't long before the full waterproofs are needed

 

We were going to have elevenses on Weet's Top . . .

 

but we went for the shelter of the wall . . .

 

just past the remains of a medieval monastic wayside cross. The cross was restored in 1955 and only the base or socket stone is original. The base is made from gritstone and stands near the junction of five townships so may have been important as a boundary stone as well as a route marker to and from the Fountains Abbey estates on Malham Moor.

 

The view towards Malham isn't inviting

 

Approaching Gordale Scar . . .

 

the waterfalls are quite impressive . . .

 

and even the beck will have to be crossed with care

 

The higher waterfall looks like it's in full flow

 

Looking back into the gorge after retracing our steps . . .

 

past the campsite where most people are already packing up and leaving

 

Heading down to Malham Tarn . . .

 

past the 'walled trees'

 

The group discusses the direction of the waves . . .

 

before we continue along the Pennine Way . . .

 

into another gorge . . .

 

and join the queue descending into Watlowes

 

Crossing the limestone pavement  . . .

 

the grykes hold numerous plants . . .

 

of different kinds

 

Numerous steps lead down to . . .

 

Malham Cove, some 80 metres high and 300 metres wide. It is a curved crag of carboniferous limestone formed after the last ice age.

 

The emerging stream derives from the smelt mill sinks, three-quarters of a mile north west of the Cove on the moor

 

The group watches . . .

 

as a rock climber . . .

 

tests out his skills . . .

 

and higher up, to the right . . .

 

another rock climber goes 'up the wall'

 

Heading back beside the beck . . .

 

which flows swiftly round the grassy islands . . .

 

we cross a clapper bridge . . .

 

before taking a last look at the cove

 

We are being watched!

 

The old leat feeding Scalegill Mill . . .

 

has its own overflow system

 

The mill was originally a cornmill and then from later in the 18thC, a cotton mill.

 

The present building dates from 1794 and is now holiday flats and cottages.

 

Arriving back at the church

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